I saw canned tomatillos in the shop the other day. Aside from the fact they had travelled for miles and were $11.00 a can (!), they grow like weeds, and are so much better fresh. And if you are going to bottle them it makes sense to me to do them as green sauce – ready to make enchiladas or tacos when you open it.
After a couple years of planting tomatillos they now spring up in my garden in early summer anywhere where the soil is dug. They scramble around on top of each other and will even climb up into ‘real’ weeds. Bees love their flowers which last all summer into Autumn.
They are big this year because of the rain, but this also means they are splitting and not keeping the way they normally do. The little paper husks which normally keep them dry and stop them from going off are wet and muddy this year, so the first step was to remove the husks and wash the fruit.
I also take the seeds out of the chiles so the sauce won’t be hot, and don’t add too many chiles so as to keep the sauce on the acid side. We can season the sauce as needed with chile oil when it’s opened. Everything after this is much like bottling tomato purée or sauce:
Roast the tomatillos and chiles with oil and salt and pepper:
We roast them for about an hour in a medium hot oven, until they are juicy and starting to get brown on top.
The roasted fruit then goes through a mouli grater. C likes his sauces to be smooth-ish, and a mouli takes out the skins and many of the seeds instead of chopping them up the way a blender would. It’s a little slower, but still fairly quick with a good mouli and a strong arm. C does the mouli and I clean up the mess. We are usually doing this at night, so we often stop and put the sauce in the fridge until the next night.
Then we heat it up, add the juice of a couple of limes and boil it in the pot while the jars are heating in the oven and the lids are sitting in boiling water.
For a long time I used the water bath method, where you boil the jars after filling them. The lids I get now are too thin to cope with this, and all of our older friends who have years of experience swear by the ‘overflow’ method in any case. It is quicker, easier and works better, so I’m glad I finally took their advice.